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  • My Life in FCP

  • Rob Tinworth

    July 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve been lucky to work on some great projects over the last decade with FCP. So when MC5.5 arrived in the post, I figured what better way to get back up to speed on Avid than to cut a retrospective of FCP…

    There were a lot of things to like about Avid. With all the improvements to FCPs media manager since v4.5, I’d lost sight of the fact that even in v7 it is still weak. It was also great being able to cut and paste keyframes so easily in MC5.

    There were also a lot of things that astonished me about Avid – you can only map 2 functions to any key? It’s still using a pan and scan plugin for stills?!

    But on the whole, I was left with exactly the same feeling as when I made the Avid-FCP switch in 2003. Avid is hands down the winner for the left monitor (the one with all the bins and media management) and FCP is hands down the way to work (for me and the way I think) on that right monitor (the one with the timeline).

    FCP thinks like a computer. Avid is still stuck in its origins with the film metaphor.

    So I should be all over FCP-X and a new editing revolution right? Nope. I edit with pictures, not keywords. Even if I could get over the issues with collaboration/one big project/one big library/no video output; even if they fixed all those in a bells and whistles FCP-XI, I simply don’t agree that an edit should be driven by words.

    It’s the very ‘inefficiency’ of FCP7 that immerses me in a project. It’s endlessly scrubbing backwards and forwards through the rushes that means that when I’m recutting a scene, I know there’s that shot of that thing, which I never thought I’d use, which an assistant editor wouldn’t have flagged, which I wouldn’t even have looked at, but which turns out to be just the shot I need for this sequence.

    At a certain point in any edit, I get the feeling that I have the film in my head, like there’s an index in my brain. I think that’s much more powerful than metadata. Editing is about pictures.

    So now I need to decide whether to continue with FCP7 or make the jump over to Avid. I know the production companies I work with would prefer the latter. But FCP7 remains, for me, far and away the better of the two because in any edit, I spend almost all my time in the timeline.

    So where possible I’ll be driving FCP7 until it stops working. And where a client insists on cutting on Avid I’ll keep calm and carry on.

    I just hope the feeling of editing with one hand tied behind my back goes away.

    Rob Tinworth

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  • Everest Mokaeff

    July 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Oh man, the lost shot nearly killed me. Media Composer. Thanks, three and half minutes were worth watching. I’m grinning.

    Sony PMW-EX3, Canon Mark II 5D, FCS3 in Moscow

  • David Roth Weiss

    July 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm


    Beautiful work all around. This piece is funny and incisive, but more importantly, it’s a brilliant statement and a monument for all of those who have invested enormous parts of their creative lives in Apple and it’s wares; all now seemingly lost without rhyme, reason, or explanation.

    Really f-ing brilliant!!!

    David Roth Weiss
    David Weiss Productions, Inc.
    Los Angeles

    Don’t miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion


    Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.

  • Shane Ross

    July 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Nicely done. You still have all the media and project files for all those projects? man… I have the project files, but only a few shows do I have the media.


    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Rob Tinworth

    July 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Yeah, I think what really smarts is less Apple’s move – that’s sound financial sense – so much as being strung along with their smoke and mirrors BS. Particularly their taking over the NAB supermeet and the implications that went with that – “We’re not abandoning you guys”.

    I’m not an NLE snob – I was when I first starting cutting on Avid and regarded everything else as unworthy. Now, I’m all for making software simpler/more accessible. I just don’t understand why they couldn’t design FCP-X with a dual interface. Similar to how DVDSP was set up – do you want the window layout to simple and constrained, or complicated and powerful?

    I was astonished to see how little Avid has changed in 10 years. I think that’s both a strength and a weakness. But I like the way they’ve implemented the smart tool – “Here’s this way of working that everyone else seems to like, but we’re not going to force you to use it, you can switch it off and edit the same way you always have”. The smart tool is a great idea, but I don’t think they’ve quite nailed it. FCP takes the whole logic of a computer interface and applies it to the timeline. You want to copy and paste that clip? Option-Drag. You don’t even need to read the manual – it’s the same as how you work at the finder level. There are so many times I’ve been working in FCP when I’ve thought things like “If I’d designed this, I’d make it so I could just drag that photo from the finder straight into the timeline” and lo and behold that’s how it already works!

    I’ve started rambling – 2 weeks resisting the temptation to post FCP-X bitterness.

    My central point is that I believe they could have made the FCP-X interface and media management attractive to all users at all levels. What’s upsetting is not so much that they didn’t do that, as that they didn’t give us any warning.

    Rob Tinworth

  • tad newberry

    July 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Rob, ditto to what everyone else said here already. Some great work there…and a heck of a visual at the end. I guess i’m hoping by the time my copy of FCP7 install discs are too scratched up to reinstall for the umpteenth time, “X” will have evolved into “Ocho,” something we can all work with…i hate to say “farewell” to it yet…

    : )

    thanks for helping out a bonehead!

    2.66 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro
    6GB RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120
    …and a few TeraBytes o’ storage
    (then it’s on to PetaBytes, ExaBytes and MosquitoBytes!)

  • Dan Monro

    July 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    My thoughts exactly. Must be a petabyte raid array in his garage…

    Nicely done.

    Dan Monro
    FCP, PPro, Avid, AfterFX, Atlanta
    MacBook Pro 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 4 GB ram
    Mac OS X 10.6.4
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
    Final Cut Pro 7, PPro 5 Quicktime 7.6.6
    – OR –
    2 x 3.2 Quad Xeon; 16 GB ram
    Mac OS X 10.6.4
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 Final Cut Pro 7.0.3, PPro5.0.3 Quicktime 7.6.6

  • Rob Tinworth

    July 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    The media is LONG gone. That’s all colour correction voodoo.

    And that was far from simple in MC5.

    There’s no way to pull a secondary with their colour correction mode, so I had to nest the FCP-timeline-clip, dupe it, pull a chroma key, garbage mask that and then correct the layer below. Repeat for render bar, video clip and audio clips are you’ve got 6 video layers nested in each track, and four tracks at any given time. Copy and paste those presets to the rest of the time timeline? You have to do it filter by filter! It’s a mess.

    It raises a bigger question which is when I ultimately make the switch, what’s the new colour correction workflow? Handing off to a Symphony editor is one option, but I’ve really enjoyed being able to colour correct my own work. Avid to Apple’s EOLed Color doesn’t seem to be an option without automatically ducking it.

    So I’m going to download Resolve when they release the free lite version and see if that plays nice my system and with Avid.

    Does anyone know if Resolve will let you monitor through the AJA IO Express?

    Rob Tinworth

  • Shane Ross

    July 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    RESOLVE requires the Decklink Extreme 3D. Not sure what the LITE version will entail. And the main RESOLVE requires a control surface…REQUIRES it…and specific expensive NVIDIA graphics cards. Not sure what the LITE version will do.

    I use the curves, and Colorista from Red Giant Software. But yes, ALL the layers and time needed to build them to do simple Picture in Picture, or moves on stills…annoys me.


    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Jeremy Garchow

    July 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Nice work and well done.

    [Rob Tinworth] “Editing is about pictures.”

    Until you need to find something in the FCP7 browser amongst the endless bins and subclips by a picture (or text for that matter).

    Just curious, how much real time have you spent with FCPX?

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